August 30, 2021 – Pico Interactive, a China-based provider of virtual reality (VR) headsets for consumers and enterprise, has been acquired by ByteDance, the parent company of social app TikTok, according to various industry reports.
Rumours of the acquisition began to emerge last week, with Bloomberg reporting that according to a source familiar with the matter ByteDance was considering buying Pico.
Now, it seems that those rumours are more than likely to be true, with several Chinese news outlets stating that an internal memo at Pico has confirmed ByteDance’s acquisition of the company for a price of around RMB ¥5 billion (approximately USD $773 million).
Pico develops VR headsets for enterprise, such as its Neo 3 Pro and Neo 3 Pro Eye 6DoF devices that feature 4K resolution, enterprise functionality, a counterbalanced design for extended wear, and spatial stereo speakers. The company already offers consumer versions of its headsets to users in Asia, but only enterprise models are available in western markets.
The news of the acquisition puts ByteDance in direct competition with the likes of Facebook, which owns leading VR platform Oculus. Although the Pico acquisition is not quite the USD $2 billion sum that Facebook paid for Oculus back in 2014, it still marks a significant purchase by the TikTok parent company. Plus, with ByteDance’s TikTok social media platform now rivalling Facebook’s Instagram (and possibly even the Facebook social media platform itself also), it will be interesting to see how much of a share of the VR market ByteDance can carve out for itself, and whether or not it also chooses to follow a similar path to Facebook in terms of bringing a mass-market VR headset to consumers at a low price point.
Neither ByteDance nor Pico have offered any formal clarification or announcement that confirms the acquisition at this time.
For more information on Pico and its VR products, please visit the company’s website.
Image credit: ByteDance / Pico Interactive